Research Awards

Blue gloved hands reach for a test tube

Award Acceptance

Research awards made to Georgetown University include grants, contracts, research agreements and cooperative agreements. The Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) is responsible for  for receipt and negotiation of all research-related agreements for the Medical Center, in consultation with other relevant University offices.  Click here to review some important clauses and considerations.

All research and training grants and contracts involving university personnel and/or facilities represent legally binding agreements between sponsors and the University. OSR is the Medical Center authorized organizational representative (AOR) and the only office legally authorized to bind the Medical Center in matters of externally funded research agreements. The Director of Sponsored Research and the University Vice President of Finance and Treasurer or their designees have been delegated signature authority for such agreements. While sponsors may require additional signatures of other University personnel, such as principal investigators, the agreement is not valid without the signature of one of these signatories. The Director or Deputy Director of the Medical Center Office of Sponsored Research must review and approve all award agreements prior to forwarding to the Chief Financial Officer for signature, if appropriate.

Award Management

A sponsored research award is any externally funded grant, contract or cooperative agreement in which the sponsor requires financial reporting, invoicing or auditing. All government awards are considered sponsored research, along with many corporate and foundation awards. An OSR representative must sign any sponsored research award document that requires financial reporting, invoicing or auditing.

OSR receives and reviews award notices, establishes spending accounts in GMS (Georgetown Management System) to bill costs against research awards.  OSR handles all post-award “pre-financial” issues and assists investigators with administrative issues related to setup, maintenance and closeout of sponsored research awards. Day-to-day fiscal management of awards is handled by the PI’s departmental grants manager. Financial oversight, reporting and compliance is the responsibility of the Sponsored Projects Financial Operations (SPFO) Department in the Office of Financial Affairs. 

OSR is the primary contact and conduit to University administration and external sponsors for questions or issues including establishment of sponsored research spending accounts, budgets, pre-award “at-risk” accounts (spending prior to receipt of award notice), re-budgeting, no-cost extensions, or any other administrative or contractual issues that require University compliance review and approval or prior approval from the sponsor. 

Sponsored Research Spending Account Setup

All externally funded sponsored research agreements (grants, contracts, cooperative agreements) must be received by OSR and routed to the appropriate Grants and Contracts Officer to review the award for compliance with University policies and to set up a GMS (AWD/GR) spending account to manage sponsored research funds.  

Note: OSR will not establish a GMS sponsored research account until the Office has received formal, written confirmation of an award for a Medical Center program or project.  A mechanism has been established to set up an “At Risk” Account if an award is imminent to enable the PI to incur costs up to 90 days in advance of cost center setup. Please use this link for more information about procedures and restrictions related to At Risk Accounts.

Financial Management

Upon receipt of award, RDS and OSR review and compare each award budget to the proposed budget. Differences between the two require a revised budget from the department.  If a revised budget is not received within three business days, OSR will set up a budget with a proportional reduction or a “skeleton” budget, as appropriate, to ensure that awards are set up in a timely manner. Note that lack of a detailed budget may cause issues downstream, so departmental personnel are strongly encouraged to provide a detailed budget to OSR as soon after receipt of award as possible. Differences between proposal and award budgets that are greater than 10% are discussed with the PI and departmental grants manager to determine if a revised scope of work is required. If it is, OSR will contact the sponsor to facilitate that change.

Financial management of sponsored research award dollars is the responsibility of departmental administrative staff, in collaboration with the Sponsored Projects Financial Operations (SPFO). The GMS Budget to Actuals Report (BAR) is generally used by departmental grants managers to obtain information about sponsored research spending accounts. Financial issues or inquiries concerning cost transfers or expenses charged to the account, invoices to the sponsor, payments to subcontractor, financial reporting and auditing should be directed to the relevant analyst in SPFO. 

Principal Investigator (PI) Responsibilities

  • Conducting the research project in accordance with the proposed research and the terms and conditions of the award. Note that the sponsor’s written approval is required for a significant change the scope of work.
  • Managing project resources to ensure timely and successful completion of the project.
  • Approving expenses charged to the project restricted account. Be sure to use the correct account codes are used when charging expenses to externally funded projects.
  • Reviewing the monthly “Budget to Actuals Report” for accuracy and reporting any discrepancies to the SPFO ASAP.
  • Filing required technical reports as stated in the award document. A copy of the report or correspondence accompanying the technical report must be provided to the OSR to log in GMS for inclusion in the University file for audit compliance.
  • Reporting any inventions and or scientific discoveries made during the course of the project to the Office of Technology Commercialization.
  • Notifying the Property Accounting Department in Financial Affairs if capital equipment (equipment valued at $5,000 or more and having a life expectancy of at least three years) is being transferred between institutions or disposed of.
  • Level of Effort – Investigators must work with their department administrators to document their level of effort on various research projects. A change of more than 25% in the level of effort (e.g., decrease from 50% to 35% or 5% to 3%) requires sponsor notification and approval. Note that OSR Grants Officers review all progress reports submitted to NIH and alert department administrators and SPFO of any level of effort changes.

Progress Reports

Principal investigators are responsible for submitting progress reports, with the assistance of OSR, when required.

NIH Progress Reports
Investigators should consult the Office of Research Development Services and their award document or the NIH eRA Commons to determine if electronic progress reports or paper reports are required.

SNAP (Streamlined Non-competing Award Process) and RPPR (Research Performance Progress Report)
The Streamlined Non-competing Award Process (SNAP) requires the Investigator to first complete their part of the progress report and then submit the document to the Grants and Contracts Officer responsible for their GU department. After the OSR officer has reviewed the document, it will be forwarded to the OSR Associate Director (the GUMC Authorized Organizational Representative; AOR) and up-loaded to the NIH through the NIH Commons Electronic Portal.

Mandatory Use of the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process (SNAP) and Fellowship Awards NOT-OD-13-061
NIH Reminds Grantee Institutions of the Requirement to Use the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) for All SNAP and Fellowship Progress Reports for Awards with start dates on or after July 1, 2013. Noncompliance with these reporting requirements will jeopardize the NIH’s ability to issue timely awards to the institution.

Failure to submit timely RPPR progress reports for SNAP and fellowship awards subject to this requirement may adversely affect future funding to the organization and/or awards to the same Project Director/Principal Investigator.  Accordingly, NIH may impose sanctions on institutions that fail to follow these reporting requirements.  Such sanctions may include, but are not limited to, corrective actions, removal of authorities, and/or delay or withholding of future awards to the project or program.

See the NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-13-035 for more information about the use of the RPPR and the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information regarding terms and conditions of NIH grant awards.

Extensions and Supplements

Requests for “extensions” or “supplements” must be addressed to the sponsor through the Office of Sponsored Research. Many sponsors permit a one year no-cost extension (no additional funds) at the end of the award period. If you require a no-cost extension, please request one by sending an email request, including the reason for the no-cost extension, to OSR at

Note that no-cost extensions are not permitted simply to use unexpended funds. No-cost extensions may be granted to:

  • Permit an orderly phase-out of a project that will not receive continued support
  • Maintain continuity of support while a renewal application is under review
  • Ensure that the originally approved project is adequately completed.

After receiving your request, OSR will either extend your account or send a formal extension request to the sponsor, depending on the terms and conditions of the award.

Transferring an Award

Sponsored research agreements are awarded to the institution and not to the individual investigator. Contact Trudy Bright in OSR ( for assistance in transferring a sponsored agreement from another institution to Georgetown University or from Georgetown University to another institution.

When transferring a sponsored agreement to Georgetown:

  • The awardee (previous institution) must agree to relinquish the sponsored agreement before it can be transferred
  • A new application must be submitted to the sponsor from Georgetown University (GU) that includes all applicable GU rates.

When transferring a sponsored agreement from Georgetown to a new institution, the PI must:

  • Obtain Department Chair approval
  • Notify the sponsor that the transfer is anticipated (OSR must sign the letter of notification)
  • File all technical reports
  • Notify SPFO so that financial reports can be prepared and unexpended balances or overdrafts can be handled appropriately
  • Report all property to be transferred to Property Accounting including equipment being moved to another GU department.

For additional resources related to award management, visit the SPFO web page on Grant Reporting and Compliance.

Award Closeout

Award closeout includes timely submission of all required technical, administrative and financial reports and financial adjustments for amounts due the grantee or sponsor. The PI is responsible for filing the final technical report in accordance with the schedule contained in the award document or in the sponsor’s published regulations.

OSR, in conjunction with the PI, is responsible for submitting the final invention statement.

SPFO is responsible for filing the financial report, property accounting report, and other required close-out documents, if applicable. To summarize:

Required GUMC closeout reports include:

  • Final Financial Status Report (FSR) (SPFO)
  • Final Progress Report (PI: including final population tracking data, when applicable)
  • Final Invention Statement and Certification (OSR works with department)
  • Property Accounting Report (Property Accounting, Office of Financial Affairs)

Closeout reports are due within 90 days of the end of grant support. Failure to submit timely and accurate final reports may affect future funding to the organization or awards to the PD/PI. It is the responsibility of the PI and the department to work with SPFO to resolve any shortfall of funds if there is an “overdraft” at award closeout. Note that any unexpended balance of funds will be dispersed in accordance with sponsor policies and regulations at award closeout.

Note that closeout of a grant does not automatically terminate any requirements for property accountability, record retention, or financial accountability. Following closeout, the grantee remains obligated to return funds due as a result of later refunds, corrections, or other transactions, and the sponsor may recover amounts based on the results of an audit covering any part of the period of grant support.

For additional details, consult the Division of Financial Affairs Sponsored Projects Financial Reporting and Financial Closeouts Policy and other applicable policies.